Nawar people

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Regions with significant populations
 Syria 100,000–250,000
 Palestine 15,000[1]
 Lebanon 3,112 (estimated)[2]
Domari, Arabic, Aramaic, Kurdish, Turkish
Predominantly Islam
Related ethnic groups
Dom people, Roma people, Kawliya

Nawar is an Arabic term for several sedentary communities used primarily in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Palestine.[3] The term, regarded as derogatory, is used by Arabs for several diverse ethnic groups.[3] They have historically been called "Gypsies", though as a whole they only have economic activities and lifestyle in connection with the Romani, possibly having distant linguistical relationship; only the Dom people (the largest of the groups) have a clear connection with the Roma.[3] The Dom people are especially known as Nawar.[4]

This numerically small, widely dispersed people have migrated to the region from South Asia, particularly from India, in Byzantine times. As in other countries, they tend to keep apart from the rest of the population, which regards them as dishonorable yet clever. The Nawar have traditionally provided musical entertainment at weddings and celebrations. The participation of Nawar women in such activities is lucrative, yet at the same time it reinforces the group's low status. Nawar also appear at festivals to work their trade as fortune-tellers, sorcerers, and animal trainers. In Syria today, one may still encounter Nawar encampments in rural areas.


Nawar is an Arabic term for several sedentary communities used primarily in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine.[3]


The Nawar in Syria number 100,000 to 250,000 people according to estimations.[5] The vast majority is sedentary.[5] The sub-groups of the Nawar include Dom (Sunni), Turkmen (Sunni), Turkmen (Shia), Abdal (Shia), Albanian (Sunni), Kurd (Sunni), and Kaoli (Sunni).[6] The Dom and Turkman are the largest groups.[5]


The Nawar in Israel are also known as tso'anim (gypsies in Hebrew).[4] A small community in Jerusalem lives in Bab Huta neighborhood, in the Old City of Jerusalem.[7][8][9][10]


Jordan's Romani community numbers around 70,000 according to estimates in 2015.[11]



The Dom language (Domari) in the Middle East is known as Nawari.[4] Domari shows Turkic, Kurdish and Arabic influence.[4]

Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Ghorbati, community in Iran and Afghanistan


  1. ^ "The social exclusion of the Domari society of Gypsies in Jerusalem". Identities Journal. 13 May 2020. Retrieved 2021-05-16.
  2. ^ Lebanon: "Acute social marginalization" of Dom community (Report). IRIN. 11 July 2011. Retrieved 2021-05-18.
  3. ^ a b c d Berland & Rao 2004, p. 71.
  4. ^ a b c d Law 2014, pp. 138–139.
  5. ^ a b c Berland & Rao 2004, p. 73.
  6. ^ Berland & Rao 2004, p. 74.
  7. ^ Selig, Abe. Jerusalem’s Herod’s Gate receives face-lift. 06/29/2010. Jerusalem Post
  8. ^ A People Apart: The Romani community seeks recognition. By Eetta Prince-Gibson. Dom Research Center. 2001
  9. ^ Danny Rubinstein. People / Steve Sabella: Blurring the lines. Haaretz. 2005
  10. ^ Joseph B. Glass and Rassem Khamaisi. Report on the Socio-Economic Conditions in the Old City of Jerusalem. Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto. p.4
  11. ^ Mohammad Al-Fdeilat (8 August 2013). "Jordan's Gypsies Maintain Identity Amid Stigmatization". Almonitor. Retrieved 10 April 2020.